Approaching Summer 2020, COVID-19 had given me a bleak outlook for any potential internships. While I was lucky to still have an (unpaid) remote internship, I also loaded up my to-do list with side hustles and passion projects. Although there has been a lot of uncertainty in the world lately, there is no better time than now to – for lack of better word – shoot for the stars!
One key project that has taken up much of my time in the past month has been working with fellow COM (now graduated!) peer Maya Malekian. As a participant in the PR Council Agency-Ready certification program, Maya saw a high number of engaged students with many talents in the PR field without internships for the summer, but plenty of skills to offer. This was combined with an increased number of nonprofits and small businesses that have been affected by the pandemic and have had to scale back on communications efforts during a time when social conversation is more important than ever. Maya wanted to start a pro bono integrated communications agency to help bring these two needs together in a mutually beneficial way, and hence empath worldwide was born.
My past few months have included countless Zoom and Google Meet calls, late night brainstorming Facetimes, and reaching out to the BU community and beyond to recruit leadership members and now creatives to join the team. As our August 1st launch date is approaching, I feel a little nervous, but am more excited to finally reveal what we’ve been working on over the past few weeks and begin doing work for our clients.
Additionally, I applied to the Her Campus Aussie Business Plan Competition on a whim. Normally, I wouldn’t say I have an entrepreneurial spirit by any means, but I decided to pitch my idea of Do Up Dorm Designs, an affordable interior design consultation service for college students. I have always had a passion for interior decorating and this was the perfect opportunity to put it to the test. I ended up moving to the next round in the competition as one of 20 finalists, and in addition to receiving a $2,250 cash prize, I could be one of 5 winners of $10,000. I have been meeting regularly with a mentor who has experience in the interior design industry to help flesh out my business plan in preparation for pitch day in August, where I’ll be presenting to Procter & Gamble executives!
I have three main pointers for how to fulfill your passions through side hustles:
1. You don’t need to actively seek out opportunities, but find ways to get creative. If something comes up that piques your interest in the slightest, see if you can take advantage and use it as an avenue to try something new that you’ve always wanted to.
2. Never stop learning! Your pursuits can be completely outside of what you study in school. There are so many online courses to engage in nowadays–many of which are free–and other interactive groups like Patreon where you can learn directly from experts in a field! This is also a great way to network and learn from a mentor.
3. Multitasking! Although 110% quality comes first, it is always possible to multitask, especially now that the world is operating remotely. You might have a 9-5 commitment at an internship but there is always a way to weave in calls and other tasks with that schedule. Find ways to get creative, and always use a calendar system that works for you to make sure you don’t miss a thing!